Following on from the previous post, you will recall that our hero was left pacing outside the bedroom of the Princess Royal. In order to satify the morbid curiousity of Conan the Librarian, a one time Holyrood stalker, I will explain:
My posting was outside the Royal bedroom, but outside outside, in the grounds of the Palace. My patrol area was a gravel path that ran parallel with Constitution Hill. In order to be allowed an inside job, one had to be on the permanent police staff of said establishment, the outside (that means cold, wet, windy) posts were off-loaded onto the casual attachments. I'd done this one a few times without so much as a peep from HRH. Several months after my demonstration story below, I again found myself in the garden of Buckingham Palace on a 2200-0600 shift. The side of `Buck House` that the public usually see is, in fact, the back yard. The grounds, out of public view are doubly magnificent, right down to the lake at the bottom with its own rowing boat that we would occasionally use when we were being particularly thorough in our nocturnal duties. The building was a truly awesome sight as one strolled back towards it from the darker end of the vast gardens and however tired I felt, it always moved me. I do believe I was proud to be there.
It was a beautiful, warm summer night and the air was full of the smells of summer shrubs and freshly mown grass (acres of it). The flamingos were nestling down by the lake and I could just hear the soft buzz of the ever present traffic rushing up and down Constitution Hill, that connected The Mall with Hyde Park Corner and ran right past the Palace. How irritating that must be after the tranquility of Balmoral or the Sandringham Estate in the rural depths of Norfolk.
The first few hours were uneventful until about 0200 when I heard, via my radio, that HRH's fiancee was leaving the building in his little BMW Touring saloon. Apparantly, he'd been up in the boudoir discussing equestrian matters before excuses were made and he left for his own abode. About half an hour had elapsed since his departure and I continued my steady, monotonous patrol, my size elevens gently crunching the neatly raked gravel path as I kept an ear open for intruders and an eye open for wildlife. It was still very warm and I would occasionally glance up at HRH's chambers and picture the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. It was whilst doing this that I noticed the windows were wide open, no doubt due to the hot, humid night air. Suddenly, to my surprise, the french doors were flung noisily open and there she stood, the moonlight shimmering on her beautiful long hair and night attire.
`What light through yonder window breaks` thought I. Then she called down to me, I could scarce believe it. My heart was all a flutter.
"Officer", she called.
"Yes Ma'm" (ma'm as in `jam`), he replied.
"Officer, I'm going to give you two choices".
"Beg your pardon, Ma'm??", he cautiously retorted.
"Either get off that gravel and walk on the grass or take those f'ing boots off".
And then she vanished, as quickly as she'd appeared.
What a doll!
I walked on the grass.